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Game 54: Coyotes At Avalanche, Preview And Open Thread

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Hoo boy.  As Drafty's post below eludes, February is a big, important month for the Avalanche if they're the least bit concerned about making the playoffs.  Right now, they're on a point-scoring pace to reach the hallowed plateau of 95 points and at least steal the eighth seed in the Western Conference.  The fact that that would mean a first-round battle against the Red Wings isn't even comprehensible to me right now.  But, neither is missing the playoffs.

The win against St. Louis on Saturday was big.  The Avs will need to keep that kind of offensive onslaught going tonight as the Phoenix Coyotes, hot off a great January, cruise into The Can.  

I'm not sure if dreaded nemesis Ilya Bryzgalov will be in net tonight for Phoenix, since ESPN says he probably will be and the Post says he probably won't be.  I guess I could check a Phoenix newspaper but I'll just assume they don't report anything hockey-related because they're still trying to figure out what "ice" is.  Needless to say, it will be much harder for the Avs to win if Bryz is playing.  Damn him.

UPDATE: Via new member leftwinglock, we have confirmation that Tellqvist will start for the Coyotes.

For the Avs, Peter Budaj will be in net again, much to the dismay of some.  And while he's lost his last two games against the Dogs, he's 6-1-2 lifetime with a 2.65 GAA against them.  He's been solid, if a bit flawed, the past two games he's played, so hopefully he maintains his composure and shuts down Coach Gretzky's upstart offense---and that jerk Steve Reinprecht.

The game starts at 7:00 PM Mountain time, 9:00 PM Eastern.  Let's get some goals!

ESPN preview.